Victorian Volcanic Plains Conservation Management Network

Protecting grassland, seasonal wetlands, grassy woodlands & other ecosystems on the Victorian Volcanic Plains


New technology and the pitfalls

Technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles and monitoring cameras have made a big difference to our knowledge on various aspects of nature. Two articles recently have highlighted that people are beginning to think about the need to really consider the impact of what the do on fauna and on those observing the activities of wildlife.

  1. a link to an article in the online publication The Conversation – A guide to using drones to study wildlife: first, do no harm
  2. a link to what happens when viewers don’t like the reality of what happens in nature from The Washington Post –People love watching nature on nest cams — until it gets grisly


The nature of change in wetlands

Mullawallah Swamp near Ballarat

Mullawallah Swamp near Ballarat

If you have an interest  in the field of paleoecology, then this journal may be for you. It is edited by Peter A. Gell and C. Max Finlayson and provides critical background and information for wetland scientists and managers about the nature of change in wetlands, including that which can occur over different timescales

This special issue of the journal Marine and Freshwater Research contains a set of papers on “Understanding Change in the Ecological Character of Internationally Important Wetlands” with reference to the use of palaeo-ecological approaches alongside contemporary ecological approaches.

The abstracts are accessible in Marine and Freshwater Research Volume 67 Number 6

The papers came from a workshop ‘Ramsar Wetlands: Understanding Change in Ecological Character’ held in Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia, 5–8 November 2013. The workshop was sponsored by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (now Future Earth) project PAGES (Past Global Changes), and brought together what was possibly an eclectic group of palaeoecologists and wetland managers and ecologists.


Courting Brolgas

There is some thing special about brolgas, so a big thank you to Louise Thomas for taking the time to record this footage near Darlington  vimeo.com/channels/brolgaswadersandfriends

Recently the Moorabool Catchment Landcare Group ran a workshop on threatened fauna where Inka Veltheim spoke about her research into brolgas. She gave some useful tips for farmers who want to enhance the habitat for brolgas on their farms.

Avoid using ringlock fencing and barbed wire, mark the top line of wire and mark power lines near wetlands. Farm dams may be modified to incorporate more brolga habitat. Most important for brolga is to have a network of wetlands that cater for breeding and non breeding and the management of the wetlands.


International Day for Biological Diversity

Biodiversity is the foundation for life and for the essential services provided by ecosystems. It therefore underpins peoples’ livelihoods and sustainable development in all areas of activity, including economic sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism, among others. By halting biodiversity loss, we are investing in people, their lives and their well-being – link

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Updates on Murnong, Hoary Sunray and Adamson’s Blown-grass

Hoary Sunray at Rokewood

Hoary Sunray at Rokewood

The latest copy of Muelleria, the journal of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, has an interesting paper about a name for murnong, where an existing name Microseris walteri has been resurrected – link.  Also included is a key to the 3 Australian species.

Those with an interest in threatened flora may remember the determination that taxa below the rank of subspecies ‘are not considered to be species for the purpose of the EPBC Act and are not eligible to be listed under section 178 of the EPBC Act’(Department of Environment 2014). This looked like it was going to impact on Hoary Sunray. Also in Muelleria is a paper about the taxonomic and legislative arguments to justify the elevation of Leucochrysum albicans var. tricolor (DC.) to the rank of subspecies – link.
For the grass identifiers there is an article on subspeciation in Lachnagrostis adamsonii.


Autumn in a grassland

Not many people venture out into grasslands in the autumn unless they are passionate about grasslands. I like to check them out whenever I get a chance and this time of year it is to see if they have been burnt, or to look at when the next burn should be organised. About a 1km section of Cattle Station Hill Road in Hepburn Shire has a good patch of grassland on both sides. The roadsides are wide and regularly burnt. At this time of year the kangaroo grass is obvious with an orange hue. Patches of common everlasting are also prominent with the silver foliage.

 

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